Despite his recent struggles and injury issues, Tony Romo remains the best choice for the Dallas Cowboys at quarterback, at least for the foreseeable future. Romo's combination of skill, composure and veteran savvy is exactly what the young Dallas offense needs to succeed in the coming years.
And while quite a few writers on B/R have called for Romo to be replaced, I'm not convinced that's the correct move. I still believe in Tony's ability to win games for Dallas, even after his Meltdown at the Meadowlands to start the 2011 NFL season.
Here are five reasons Tony Romo should remain "The Man" in Dallas. As always, comments are welcome and appreciated.
The late-game fumbles aside, Tony Romo does possess the ability to make great plays with his legs. While he isn't Michael Vick or Cam Newton, but he does have an Aaron Rodgers-esque elusiveness to him, an ability to sidestep pressure, extend the play and even pick up a first down scrambling.
With the current state of the Cowboys' offensive line, the importance of Romo's ability to extend the play is greatly increased, especially against blitz-happy division rivals Philadelphia and New York.
There simply are no other available options at QB right now that can extend the play the way Romo can.
One of the most impressive aspects of Tony Romo's game is his ability to see the play develop across the entire field. In his younger days, Romo was known for his tendency to "lock-on" to his primary receiver, which usually resulted in less-than-stellar outcomes.
In recent years, Romo has worked diligently to correct that tendency, and the results have been impressive.
Part of the reason for Romo's improvement in this department is his expanded knowledge of the game of football and the Cowboy's playbook. But the other, more important aspect of this improvement is Romo's learning how to play the QB position at the NFL level.
In short: Tony Romo has become a bona fide NFL starting quarterback. Players like that don't grow on trees.
There is no question the Cowboys are a fairly young team on the offensive side of the ball—six of their offensive starters are age 24 or younger (including number three wideout Kevin Ogletree).
A team in that situation needs a respected veteran leader under center who is capable of managing the game, making good decisions under pressure and setting a good example for younger players. Romo can do exactly that.
Unlike other professional sports (baseball, basketball) where locker-room chemistry tends to be a secondary consideration, football remains a team-first game—a lesson the Cowboys learned the hard way last season.
Tony Romo is an excellent locker room presence, a true veteran leader and a sound decision-maker. Those are not qualities that are easy to find around the league, which makes Tony all the more valuable (and all the more important) to the Cowboys going forward.
One of the things that tends to get lost in many of these discussions is the fact that Tony Romo is a very skilled NFL quarterback. He has an above-average arm, excellent touch on his passes and natural playmaking instincts.
While it is true that Romo is not as skilled as top-tier QBs like Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees or Philip Rivers, that does not mean he's a bad quarterback or that he's somehow not qualified to play the position for the Cowboys.
Romo may not be the best QB in the division (that honor goes to Michel Vick), but he certainly isn't the worst (that honor goes to Rex Grossman). He's an above-average starting QB who possesses quite a bit of natural skill.
There are some markets that are simply more difficult to play in than others for professional athletes. For better or worse, one of those markets is occupied by the Dallas Cowboys, affectionately known as "America's Team."
Romo has the great fortune of following Hall of Fame QB (and mediocre announcer) Troy Aikman in the annals of Cowboys' franchise QB history. For better or worse, Romo's play will always be compared to Troy Aikman's and his successes measured against Troy's.
There are very few individuals in professional sports who are capable of shouldering that type of pressure and still performing at a Pro Bowl level, and Tony Romo is one of them.
And that is perhaps the greatest reason why Tony Romo is still the QB to lead the Dallas Cowboys—because he can handle the pressure being the QB for America's Team.